NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France presents Jimmie Johnson
with the Sprint Cup trophy after Johnson secured the
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship
for the fourth consecutive year.
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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The NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
events will be combined and held at the Loews Miami Beach on Monday, Nov. 23.
NASCAR Sprint Cup on Friday, 12/4/2009 in Las Vegas. NV
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Camping World Truck Series on Monday, 11/23/2009 at the Loews Miami Beach, Fla
Friday, December 4, 2009: Sprint Cup Awards Banquet on SPEED 9:00-12:00pm/et
Saturday, December 5, 2009: Sprint Cup Awards Banquet (re-air) on SPEED 1:00-4:00am/et
Sunday, December 6, 2009: Sprint Cup Awards Banquet (re-air) on SPEED 1:00-4:00pm/et
Friday, December 4. 2009: Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series SPEED 7:00pm/et
Friday, December 11. 2009: Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series SPEED 8:00pm/et
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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week – Day 5: The first Champion’s Week in Las Vegas culminated with the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony Friday evening at the Wynn Las Vegas. The week was a packed one for four-time defending champion #48-Jimmie Johnson, who started off the tour in his home state of California before coming to Las Vegas for the festivities that began with Wednesday’s landmark photo shoot. Despite the numerous appointments, Johnson said he enjoyed them all, and said this Champion’s Week was completely different than his previous three that took place in New York City. “I think it was much more relaxed,” Johnson said. “We didn’t have to commute across town, getting around was much easier. I had a blast. Everyone across the industry just had fun together. We were hanging out with people from different teams across the sport every night. It was a lot of fun. This has been a much better experience.” Johnson said his trip home to El Cajon, Calif., on Monday was his favorite part of the week. He visited his old elementary school, and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation donated a total of $922,000 in grants to schools in California, North Carolina and Oklahoma. “Being at my elementary school [Crest Elementary] and giving out the grants was the best part,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of things on its heels as second-favorite, but that was the best.” Crew chief Chad Knaus echoed his driver’s feelings on the week, and expects it to be even better in the future. “Honestly, it’s been a lot of fun,” Knaus said. “Everything has been such a good time. And the more times we’re here, the more it’s going to grow.”
Championship owner Rick Hendrick said it was certainly different in Vegas. “In New York, you had more of the Christmas feeling because of the tree and the cold weather,” Hendrick said. “But there’s so much more room to do things here. And the guys on the team are excited to be more a part of the celebration.” This is Hendrick’s ninth championship, meaning he’s been a part of nine Champion’s Weeks. It doesn’t get boring, he says. “You know what to expect, but it never gets old,” Hendrick said. “The reality of the championship always hits me the morning of the banquet. It finally sinks in. When that happens, you realize it’s so special. When I was young, I just wanted to go to Martinsville. I never dreamed I’d win races and championships. It’s like growing up in Green Bay, and then winning the Super Bowl with the Packers. That’s exactly how I feel. I’m very appreciative for everything I have.”
Friday evening’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony honored the entire #48 team and the top 10 drivers in the final series points standings. Hosted by Mike Joy and Krista Voda, it featured performances by country music stars Brooks and Dunn, comedian Frank Caliendo and singer David Gray.(NASCAR)(12-5-2009)
2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week Preview: Now it’s time for 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson to reap the rewards of a record-setting season. Johnson, who drives the #48 Lowe’s Chevy owned by Hendrick Motorsports, heads west for the inaugural Champion’s Week in Las Vegas – and the celebration of Johnson’s unprecedented fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup title. The 34-year-old El Cajon, Calif., native wrapped up the 2009 championship a week ago at Homestead-Miami Speedway capping a season in which Johnson won seven races and gave the Hendrick Motorsports organization its record 12th NASCAR national-series crown. Johnson will have much to do during a busy, two-state Champion’s Week schedule that features more fan involvement than ever. The week culminates with the formal NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at Wynn Las Vegas on Friday night.
* Monday – Johnson will attend three events beginning with an 11 a.m. PT student assembly at Crest Elementary School in El Cajon, Calif., the school Johnson attended. His Jimmie Johnson Foundation will award grants to 11 San Diego-area schools. Johnson will then host an interactive fan fest for United States Marines and their families at Camp Pendleton, Calif., from 3-7 p.m. PT followed by a homecoming celebration at Lowe’s, 9416 Mission Gorge Road, Santee, Calif., from 7-10 p.m. PT.
* Tuesday – Johnson will host a Fan Appreciation Breakfast and Champion’s Q&A from 10 a.m.-noon PT at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The event is open to 700 of the track’s invited guests. Johnson will participate in a print media roundtable at the track at 9:30 a.m. PT and be available for affiliate interviews at 11:45 a.m. PT. In Las Vegas, the series’ 2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year, Joey Logano (No. 20 Home Depot Toyota), will participate in a media tour.
* Wednesday – The champion’s Las Vegas celebration begins at 10 a.m. PT with the Chasers for Charity Fanfest at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Neon Garage. The free-admission portion of the event includes a red-carpet walk by the champion and other 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, car displays, live music, reduced-price concessions and a raffle drawing. A Charity Roast of Johnson will be held at 1:30 p.m. PT in the speedway’s Blackjack Club and is open to the first 300 people who respond (information at www.lvms.com). A $250 tax-deductible donation to Speedway Children’s Charities, includes a private reception with Johnson and Chase participants plus reserved seats and parking. The event will be shown on closed-circuit television in the Neon Garage.
* Thursday – The annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards event will be held from 1-2:45 p.m. PT in the Venetian Showroom at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. Johnson will be joined by the rest of the top 12 drivers in the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, plus Raybestos Rookie of the Year Joey Logano and other annual award winners. Race fans will get to see Johnson and fellow Chase drivers participate in a Victory Lap parade in their show cars on Las Vegas Boulevard – the city’s legendary “Strip” – beginning at 3:15 pm/pt at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. “Mr. Las Vegas,” Wayne Newton, will drop the green flag to start the event. The lap includes a pit stop and “burnout” at the Spring Mountain Road intersection before returning to the MGM Grand at 4:00pm/pt.
* Friday – Johnson formally accepts his 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship awards. He, his family and his Hendrick Motorsports team will participate in traditional photos during the afternoon, before attending the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony that evening at Wynn’s Las Vegas. SPEED will televise the event live from 6:00 pm -10:00 pm/pt [9:00 pm - 1:00am/et].(NASCAR)(11-30-2009)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week – Day 4: As the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week rolls toward the official crowning of four-time champion #48-Jimmie Johnson on Friday night, the celebration continues to focus on the sport’s many fans. Bringing the event to Las Vegas has been a big plus in that respect, according to Johnson, who sees nothing but greater fan participation in future years. “The fan turnouts for all of the events have been phenomenal, especially for a first year,” said Johnson during Thursday’s events which included the annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards, Top 12 Victory Lap Parade, NASCAR After the Lap Presented by Tissot and SIRIUS XM’s ‘Stewie Awards.’ “With the TV package, (fan) access to NASCAR is growing and Champion’s Week in the years to come can only get bigger and better.”
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, in remarks during Thursday’s awards ceremonies, said, “We will continue to do everything possible as an industry to thank them for the commitment to the sport and to give them the kind of racing, personalities and excitement they expect from their NASCAR. “As we head into 2010, we will continue to focus on what’s most important – delivering the best possible racing to the fans.”
Two of NASCAR’s pioneers were honored during the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards, held at the Venetian Showroom. Dale Inman, the longtime Petty Enterprises crew chief and winner of eight NASCAR Sprint Cup championships, was the recipient of the Buddy Shuman Award. Inman, winner of 198 races and titles with Richard Petty and Terry Labonte, joined Petty as a winner of the prestigious award. Barney Hall, the longest serving member of MRN’s broadcast team, received the Myers Brothers Award.
Michigan International Speedway received the 2009 Home Depot Humanitarian Award for its annual blood and marrow drive, an event created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Similar events are hosted at 30 additional tracks around the nation. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think what we began in 2002 would become this big,” said Tim Booth, the track’s customer service manager.
Daytona International Speedway was cited as the top fund-raising track for NASCAR Day. The speedway raised nearly $100,000 for charities served by the NASCAR Foundation.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver for the seventh time.
Johnson picked up four awards. His #48 team received three additional awards.
The Top 12 Victory Lap Parade held Thursday afternoon under sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s drew thousands of onlookers as “Mr. Las Vegas” Wayne Newton dropped the ceremonial green flag. Fans overflowed sidewalks at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Spring Mountain Road to witness what has become a NASCAR race winner’s signature “burn out” celebration performed by Johnson. Pit stop demonstrations also were held fronting Bally’s and The Bellagio resorts.
A large crowd also enjoyed a Q&A session with the 12 qualifiers for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup held at the MGM Grand Hotel. The After the Lap Presented by Tissot followed the Top 12 Victory Lap. Thursday events ended with the presentation of the SIRIUS XM “Stewie Awards” honoring the best, boldest and brightest moments of the 2009 season.
Johnson formally accepts his 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship awards on Friday. He, his family and his Hendrick Motorsports team will participate in traditional photos during the afternoon, before attending the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony that evening at Wynn’s Las Vegas. SPEED will televise the event live from 9:00 pm - 1:00 am/et. SIRIUS NASCAR Radio and MRN Radio will also broadcast the ceremony live nationwide.
Here is the complete list of Thursday’s award winners:
* Buddy Shuman Award – Dale Inman
* NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award – Michigan International Speedway
* NMPA Myers Brothers Award – Barney Hall
* Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver Award – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
* Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award – Joey Logano
* DirecTV Crew Chief of the Year Award – Darian Grubb
* Dow Automotive Strategic Call of the Race Award – Jimmie Johnson
* Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Year Award – Drew Blickensderfer
* MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award – Hendrick Motorsports
* Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Award – #42 team
* Mobil 1 Command Performance Award – Juan Pablo Montoya
* O’Reilly Parts People, Services and Performance Award – Denny Hamlin
* Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award – Jimmie Johnson
* Tissot Pit Road Precision Award – #16 team
* WIX Filters Lap Leader Award – Tony Stewart
* Coors Light Pole Award – Mark Martin
* Sunoco Diamond Performance Award – Jimmie Johnson
* Goodyear Award – Jimmie Johnson
* Championship Sponsor Award – Lowe’s
* Champion Crew Chief Award – Chad Knaus
Brooks & Dunn To Open NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Show: Country music duo Brooks & Dunn have been added to the entertainment lineup for Friday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at Wynn Las Vegas. They’ll open the show by performing their chart-topping country hit “Only in America.” The song, part of an opening segment honoring NASCAR’s loyal fan base, will be packaged with a video titled “The Spirit of the Fans,” featuring a powerful narration by long-time television broadcast personality Ken Squier. Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn have announced that 2010 will be their last year together, highlighted by a farewell tour, “The Last Rodeo.” Earlier this year they released their final album, a 30-song double-disc collection title “#1s … and then some.” They have sold more than 30 million albums over a career dating to 1991, with 23 songs that reached No. 1 on the country music charts.
Comedian/impressionist Frank Caliendo, will serve as the host while two other premier musical acts will add to the ceremony’s debut in Las Vegas: singer/songwriter David Gray, a Grammy-nominated artist with album sales exceeding 12 million; and Escala, a female electric string quartet who emerged during last year’s “Britain’s Got Talent” television show. Comedian John Pinette returns for his second-straight appearance at the awards ceremony. Serving as the event’s emcees will be Mike Joy and Krista Voda from NASCAR on FOX and SPEED, live at 9:00pm/et on SPEED.(12-3-2009)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week – Day 3: Vegas, baby, Vegas … or is it? Champion's Week takes place in Las Vegas for the first time, but today NASCAR, championship driver Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe's Chevy) and championship crew chief Chad Knaus, paid a bit of homage to its former home – New York City. Johnson took part in the traditional Landmark Photo Shoot, hitting a number of recognizable spots along the famed Las Vegas strip. One of those spots was the replica New York City skyline that makes up the New York New York Hotel & Casino. Johnson and Knaus also took photos outside the Bellagio hotel and the famous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign at the very end of the strip. At the sign, which was the champion's last stop on the photo shoot, Johnson took photos with fans and signed autographs. Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo also joined the champions for the photo.
Johnson's day didn't end there. After the photos were taken, he dashed to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where his fellow competitors got a little payback for four years of domination. The track hosted a Charity Roast of Johnson, with all 12 Chase drivers in attendance – and none held back. Said Kurt Busch (#2 Miller Lite Dodge), "I figured out a new Chase format. Every Chase race, we pull out of a hat who gets to have Chad Knaus as their crew chief. Because it's certainly not your talent that wins you all these championships." Said fellow four-time champion Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevy), "Man, you've won four straight championships. I used to be the man. Now you got me on everything. At least my eyebrows are better than yours." Said Hendrick Motorsports teammate and 2009 championship runner-up Mark Martin (#5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevy), "Jimmie has gotten a lot better looking. As a kid he was ugly. He was so ugly that he had to trick-or-treat by telephone." The at-track activities began early with the Chasers for Charity Fanfest at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's Neon Garage. It was a free-admission party for fans, featuring music, food and a Q&A hosted by ESPN's Jamie Little. The roast, held in the track's Blackjack Club, benefitted Speedway Children's Charities. The event was shown on closed-circuit television in the Neon Garage.(NASCAR)(12-2-2009)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week – Day 2: And now, on to Las Vegas. #48-Jimmie Johnson completed his Southern California Champion’s Week visits on Tuesday. The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion readies for three days of festivities that begin with Wednesday’s Chasers for the Charity Fanfest and roast beginning at 10:00am/pt in the Neon Garage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Johnson is slated to be the guest of honor – or, better said, the one on the hot seat – when stand-up comic Kevin Burke, who currently stars in the Broadway hit “Defending the Caveman,” along with the champion’s fellow competitors turn up the heat by roasting Johnson in the name of charity at 1:30pm/pt. “You couldn’t have scripted it any better,” Johnson said of this year’s Champion’s Week, being held for the first time in Las Vegas and offering fans and media in two states the opportunity to celebrate with the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. “I’ve definitely been able to work in a little more sleep,” said Johnson comparing this year’s event with his 2006-08 Champion’s Week trips to New York City. “Of course, when we get to Vegas that may change. It’s neat to hit different areas of the country and get the opportunity to visit with all of our great fans, which have supported me on this journey all along.”
On that note, Mayor Randy Voepel and the City Council of Santee, Calif., proclaimed Monday “Jimmie Johnson Day” as the champion’s latest accomplishments were celebrated at a homecoming party at a Lowe’s store in the San Diego suburb. The event attracted nearly 3,000 fans, Johnson’s family and former motocross and off-road legends Rick Johnson and Ivan “Ironman” Stewart. Johnson, who grew up in nearby El Cajon, suggested that the community’s speed limits, currently 45 mph, be raised to 48. Voepel responded “we’ll work on that tomorrow.”
Day 2 of Champion’s Week consisted of an appearance at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana where Johnson had breakfast with and conducted a Q&A with 700 of the track’s invited guests. He also participated in several media functions. Johnson has won four NASCAR Sprint Cup races at the track including the last three runnings of its Pepsi 500. #20-Joey Logano, meanwhile, made the rounds of Las Vegas print, affiliate and broadcast media on Tuesday. His interviewers included the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a KNTV (ABC) morning show and KVVU (FOX) news. For Logano, the 2009 season was his one opportunity to make a good first impression. “It’s really an honor to be the Raybestos Rookie of the Year. It was one of our goals this year and I’m glad I did it since I don’t get a second shot at it,” said the 19-year-old Connecticut native, who joined NASCAR Sprint Cup superstars Richard Petty, David Pearson, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace and Jeff Gordon among winners of the freshman title. “It was the opportunity of a lifetime to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Logano, who won once in 2009 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “It was really cool to jump into a car with a team that had success.” The No. 20 team won championships in 2002 and 2005 with Tony Stewart behind the wheel. Logano also offered congratulations to Johnson on his fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup title. “It’s impressive to accomplish something like that. It makes me want to keep digging so I can try and beat him,” he said. Logano has a date Wednesday to fly with the U.S. Air Force’s famed Thunderbirds.(NASCAR)(12-2-2009)
Johnson Joins Eli Gold Tuesday on 'NASCAR Live': Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will spend the full hour with host Eli Gold on a special edition of NASCAR Live on Tuesday [Dec 1st] at 7:00pm/et. The program will originate from CBS Radio studios in Los Angeles. NASCAR Live, now in its 26th year, invites those fans interested in congratulating Johnson on his historic fourth straight championship to send their questions to www.motorracingnetwork.com or call 1-800-2-NASCAR during Tuesday’s show.
On Wednesday [Dec. 2nd], Chad Knaus – Johnson’s crew chief – will be the featured guest on the final 2009 airing of NASCAR Performance Live on MRN Radio at 7:00pm/et. Co-hosts Steve Post and Larry McReynolds will review the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season with Knaus and look ahead to 2010.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week – Day 1: #48-Jimmie Johnson will collect an armful of awards later this week as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week wraps up its inaugural Las Vegas run on Friday at Wynn’s Las Vegas Resort.
On Monday, as Champion’s Week began in the 2009 champion’s hometown of El Cajon, Calif., it was Johnson and his wife, Chandra, handing out the awards – nearly $1 million in grants divided among schools in California, North Carolina and Oklahoma. The donations from the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education in the amount of $922,000 were made public during ceremonies at Jimmie Johnson’s former elementary school, Crest Elementary, in El Cajon. In all, 26 schools – 11 in the San Diego area – received grants from the foundation from the 80 institutions applying for awards in science and technology, accelerated reading, outdoor classrooms and athletic facilities and other programs. (A complete list of 2009 grant recipients and programs can be found at www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org.)
“This is what the foundation is all about, being able to give back to communities in need,” said Johnson, the first driver to win four consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles. Chandra Johnson, co-founder of the foundation, added, “I am particularly excited about the projects in Oklahoma as this is our first opportunity to give back in my home state.” The assembly was the first of three events the champion attended Monday in the Golden State. He also journeyed a few miles north to the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Pendleton, where he interacted with service personnel and their families and enjoyed a concert by the rock band Saving Abel. “I’m so proud of our sport and the way we support the men and women that support our country,” said Johnson. “Anything we can do to give back to our armed service men and women and thank them for what they do; I’m all for it.” The day ended with a fan fest at the Lowe’s Home Improvement Store in the San Diego suburb of Santee.(NASCAR)(11-30-2009)
Victory Lap Returns: The Top 12 drivers of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will complete a Victory Lap along Las Vegas Boulevard, kicking off in front of M&M’s World. The lap will take drivers north on Las Vegas Boulevard until they reach Spring Mountain Road. At Spring Mountain Road, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion will treat fans to a “Victory Lap Burn Out” before heading south with the other 11 drivers. During the lap all stock cars will take part in an authentic pit stop. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Victory Lap is scheduled for Thursday, December 3, 2009 from 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week Begins In California:
Champion’s Week, a two-state affair in 2009, gets underway Monday, Nov. 30 near NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson’s hometown of El Cajon, Calif.
The Jimmie Johnson Foundation will award grants to several public schools in the San Diego area and Johnson will appear at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Camp Pendleton on Monday afternoon. That evening Johnson will be the guest of honor at a homecoming at Lowe’s in Santee; and on Tuesday, Dec. 1, Johnson will host a Breakfast and Champion’s Q&A at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cited Johnson’s accomplishments this past Monday, just hours after Johnson became the first driver to win four consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles. “His performance is a testament to our state’s championship spirit and I am proud to say he’s from California,” the governor said.
The championship celebration moves to Las Vegas, Nev. on Wednesday, Dec. 2 with activities leading up to Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, which is being held for the first time at Wynn Las Vegas. Las Vegas becomes the host city after a 28-year run in New York City.
Below is a preview of Monday-Tuesday activities:
* Monday, Nov. 30. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation will award grants to 11 San Diego-area schools at 11 a.m. PT at Crest Elementary School in El Cajon, the school Johnson attended. Media members may contact Kristine Curley, Johnson’s PR Rep, at email@example.com, 816-679-5091 to confirm attendance. * Monday, Nov. 30, 3:00-7:00pm/pt. At Camp Pendleton, Johnson will host an interactive fan fest for Marines and their families. The rock band Saving Abel will appear.
* Monday, Nov. 30, 7:00-10:00pm/pt. Homecoming celebration with Jimmie Johnson. Lowe’s, 9416 Mission Gorge Road, Santee, will host an event honoring Johnson and his recent fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Fans are encouraged to come show their support. The event will include music, video tributes and special guests.
* Tuesday, Dec. 1, 10:00am-12:00noon/pt, Auto Club Speedway. Johnson will participate in a breakfast and Q&A for 700 of the track’s pre-registered guests.(NASCAR)(11-28-2009)
Carrot Top to host roast of the 2009 NASCAR champion at LVMS: World-famous comedian Carrot Top will be on hand to host and roast at the inaugural Chasers for Charity Fanfest at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Las Vegas performer, who is one of America’s most well-known comedians, will join the Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers as they get the opportunity to take their best comedic shots at the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion on Wednesday, Dec. 2 in the Blackjack Club at LVMS.
Carrot Top, who is currently headlining at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, is an avid race fan and a familiar figure at NASCAR races and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The award-winning comedy of Carrot Top, who has also been titled “Entertainer of the Year!” and “Comedian of the Year,” by various Las Vegas publications keeps his audiences in stitches as he unpacks trunk loads of crazy props and wacky inventions. Tickets for the roast are available by making a $250 tax-deductible donation to Speedway Children’s Charities. Tickets can be obtained at www.lvms.com or by calling the speedway at 1-800-644-4444. A reception for roast attendees and a brief appearance by the Chase drivers will precede the roast. The roast is just one part of the Chasers for Charity Fanfest. The fanfest, which is free to all fans of all ages, will begin at 10 a.m. Dec. 2 in the Neon Garage in the speedway’s infield. It will feature live music, displays of the Chase drivers’ cars, a question and answer session with NASCAR legend Dale Jarrett hosted by ESPN’s Jamie Little, an autograph session with Miss Sprint Cup, high-speed rides by the Richard Petty Driving Experience and much more. To purchase tickets to the roast or for more information, please log on to www.lvms.com or call 1-800-644-4444.(LVMS)(11-25-2009)
Comedian Frank Caliendo Announced As Host For NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony In Las Vegas: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony is coming to Las Vegas and Frank Caliendo is on the pole. Caliendo, the renowned comedian/impressionist with considerable sports crossover star power, will serve as the host of the annual post-season show for NASCAR’s premier series, Dec. 4 at Wynn Las Vegas. Serving as the event’s emcees will be two people highly recognizable to NASCAR fans – Mike Joy and Krista Voda from NASCAR on FOX and SPEED. (The awards ceremony will be broadcast live on SPEED on Dec. 4, at 9:00pm/et)
Two premier musical acts will supply additional star power for the ceremony’s Vegas debut: singer/songwriter David Gray, a Grammy-nominated artist with album sales exceeding 12 million; and Escala, a female electric string quartet who emerged during last year’s “Britain’s Got Talent” television show.
Also, comedian John Pinette will return for a third-straight year to NASCAR’s post-season national series awards ceremony lineup – and his second-straight appearance at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony.
Caliendo, who currently performs his own one man show at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas, is perhaps best known among sports fans for his weekly appearances over the last six years as guest prognosticator on FOX NFL SUNDAY, but he also has a strong NASCAR connection. He was featured in several videos shown at last year’s awards ceremony and also has appeared at post-season events for both the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Caliendo’s repertoire of dead-on impressions includes NFL broadcaster John Madden; former NBA star Charles Barkley; former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton; and actors Robert DeNiro and Jack Nicholson.
An eight-year veteran of television sketch comedy as a cast member on “MADtv” and with his own series, “Frank TV,” Caliendo has been a fixture on television for the last decade. He has comedy specials that run regularly on TBS and Comedy Central and he is a regular on the late night talk show circuit. He also was a special correspondent for Superbowl XXXIX and co-starred in the film “The Comebacks.” In addition, he recently signed a 10-year deal to headline a nightly Las Vegas act.
With the heart of folk music at his core, Gray’s mix of acoustic and electronic instrumentation has established him as one of the world’s leading music artists. With a career now spanning more than 15 years and nearly 12 million album sales, Gray’s commercial success is also backed up by a critical consensus and countless accolades. Gray recently released his highly anticipated seventh studio album, “Draw The Line.” USA Today called it Gray’s “most ambitious, affecting and densely musical work to date” while Entertainment Weekly said “Gray's sincerity and robust voice have been missed, and his new music sounds well-produced and confident.”(NASCAR)(11-20-2009)
Event Schedule for 2009 Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week: As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season nears conclusion – the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway just a few weeks away – 2009 Champion’s Week celebrations have taken shape. Las Vegas, Nev., is the host city for this year’s Champion’s Week festivities, which culminates on Friday, Dec. 4 with the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at Wynn Las Vegas. This year, SPEED will televise the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony live with two re-airs, from 9:00pm/et - 1:00am/et. It will re-air from 1:00-5:00am/et, on Saturday, Dec. 5, and from 1:00-5:00pm/et, on Sunday, Dec. 6. The awards ceremony is the series champion’s formal celebration.
“With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony moving from New York to Las Vegas this year, there continues to be a great deal of buzz about how things are going to be different,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “So, when the opportunity came for SPEED to be the television home for the event, it was an easy ‘yes’ from us.
“SPEED now opens the year with the Gatorade Duel at Daytona, carries it through the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race and NASCAR Hall of Fame ceremonies in the spring and wraps it up with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas without missing a single week of coverage.”
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony can also be heard on Sirius NASCAR Radio (SIRIUS channel 128 and XM channel 128 with the "Best of SIRIUS"), and on MRN Radio. Though the awards ceremony is the traditional focal point, a full roster of exciting events is planned for this year’s Champion’s Week, many with fan involvement.
Below is a quick synopsis:
Wednesday, Dec. 2 – Chasers for Charity Fanfest at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This event includes a free-admission fan event, plus a charity roast of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. For the Fanfest, gates open at 9 a.m. Access to the speedway’s Neon Garage begins at 11 a.m. PT. This portion of the event includes a red-carpet walk by the champion and the other 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, car displays, live music, reduced-price concessions and a raffle drawing.
The Charity Roast takes place in the speedway’s Blackjack Club, located in the infield media center. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. PT. The roast includes a private reception with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and Chase participants, plus reserved seats and parking. It will be shown on closed-circuit television in the Neon Garage. Due to space considerations, it’s limited to the first 300 people who respond. Cost is a $250 tax-deductible donation to Speedway Children’s Charities. Visit www.lvms.com for more information.
Thursday, Dec. 3 – 2009 NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards in the Venetian Showroom at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. Annual recognition of series award winners, which includes drivers, crew members, teams and industry icons. From 1:00-2:30pm/pt. Media-only availability for top-12 drivers takes place from noon until 12:45pm/pt. Media-only availability for certain award winners follows immediately after the event.
Thursday, Dec. 3 – Top 12 Victory Lap Parade. All 12 Chase participants will drive a lap in their show cars on Las Vegas Blvd., or “The Strip.” It begins at 3:30pm/pt, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, proceeding north to Spring Mountain Road before returning to MGM. Includes a pit stop and a “burnout” at the Spring Mountain Rd. intersection and ends at 4:00pm/pt.
Friday, Dec. 4 – 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at Wynn Las Vegas, from 6:00-9:40pm/pt.
This year’s awards ceremony marks the first time in the sport’s history that fans will join drivers, team owners and industry leaders in celebrating the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. Approximately 300 tickets are available to fans, which are being distributed by tracks, NASCAR partners, top-12 drivers and teams through various fan promotions.(NASCAR)(11-10-2009)
TELEVISION COVERAGE: Steve Byrnes and Jeff Hammond will host SPEED’s coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, with Mike Joy and Krista Voda introducing the drivers and other award winners during the ceremonies. SPEED will open NASCAR Champion’s Week with special episodes of NASCAR Race Hub, celebrating each of NASCAR’s three national touring series on separate nights. On Friday, Dec. 4, SPEED will offer a day of NASCAR programming with a series of four special shows, entitled NASCAR Best of ’09, beginning at 5:00pm/et.
NASCAR Champions Week television schedule (subject to change):
• Monday, Nov. 30 – NASCAR Race Hub celebrates the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion (7:30 p.m. ET)
• Tuesday, Dec. 1 – NASCAR Race Hub celebrates the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion (7:30 p.m. ET)
• Wednesday, Dec. 2 – NASCAR Race Hub celebrates the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion (7:30 p.m. ET)
• Thursday, Dec. 3 – NASCAR Race Hub celebrates the 2009 NASCAR race season and includes coverage of the Top 12 Victory Lap Parade and other events from Las Vegas Champion’s Week leading up to the Awards Ceremony (7:30 p.m. ET)
• Friday, Dec. 4 – NASCAR Best of ’09 Volume I (5 p.m. ET)
• Friday, Dec. 4 – NASCAR Best of ’09 Volume II (5:30 p.m. ET)
• Friday, Dec. 4 – NASCAR Best of ’09 Volume III (6 p.m. ET)
• Friday, Dec. 4 – NASCAR Best of ’09 Volume IV (6:30 p.m. ET)
• Friday, Dec. 4 – NASCAR Nationwide Series & Camping World Truck Series Awards Ceremony from Miami (7 p.m. ET, taped)
• Friday, Dec. 4 – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony from the Wynn Las Vegas (9 p.m. ET, live)
Information: NASCAR.com - championship week page
NASCAR Touring And Weekly Series Champions Week Underway: Champions Week is underway in the center of NASCAR racing as six 2009 series champions converge on the Charlotte area for a week of activities leading up to the NASCAR Touring Series Awards Gala and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet.
NASCAR champions Jason Bowles (Camping World Series West), George Brunnhoelzl III (Whelen Southern Modified Tour), Donny Lia (Whelen Modified Tour, Philip Morris (Whelen All-American Series), Andrew Ranger (Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1) and Ryan Truex (Camping World Series East) will be honored at the end of the week during awards ceremonies at the Concord Convention Center.
Tuesday will see the six champions participate in an extensive media tour in the Charlotte area. The day will start with local television and radio appearances followed by the Second Annual NASCAR Toyota Champions/Media Go-Kart Showdown presented by Sirius XM Radio at Victory Lane Karting. The Sirius NASCAR Radio show “Tradin’ Paint” will broadcast live from the event. Following the karting challenge, the champions will depart for appearances at Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Performance Racing Network (PRN). The day will conclude with a photo shoot at the under-construction NASCAR Hall of Fame and a VIP dinner at the Sam Bass Gallery.
The rest of the week’s activities will be highlighted by the Jim Hunter Golf Invitational on Wednesday, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series State Champions Dinner on Thursday and the Driver Briefings Friday morning. The week will then close with a pair of banquets. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet will take place Friday evening at the Concord Convention Center with track and state champions to be honored along with Morris, the national champion. The NASCAR Touring Series Awards Gala, which will honor the championship seasons of Bowles, Brunnhoelzl, Lia, Ranger and Truex, will be held at the same venue on Saturday evening. Both banquets will be streamed live online at nascarhometracks.com.(NASCAR PR)(11-10-2009)
Numerous Chances For Fans To Score Seats Awards Ceremony In Las Vegas: The race is on for fans to claim tickets to attend the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas – a NASCAR first – and the checkered flag isn’t far away for some of those opportunities. This year’s awards ceremony, scheduled for Friday, Dec. 4 at the Wynn Las Vegas, marks the first time in the sport’s history that fans will join drivers, team owners and industry leaders in celebrating the NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.
Approximately 300 tickets are available for fans, tracks, NASCAR partners and top-12 drivers and teams are distributing them through a variety of promotions. Thus far, 14 track operators, plus several NASCAR partners and top-12 drivers are participating in the 2009 fan ticket initiative.
The tracks include Daytona International Speedway, Infineon Raceway, Phoenix International Raceway, Richmond International Raceway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Watkins Glen International and Kansas Speedway.
Participating NASCAR partners, to date, are Coors Light, Bank of America, Kellogg’s, Ford, Ask.com and The NASCAR Foundation.
Participating drivers, to date, are Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin.
Several fans already have scored some of the coveted tickets, thanks to earlier contests and charitable good works:
* During an Oct. 21 event for Talladega Superspeedway, Kurt Busch drew the winning names of two Las Vegas-based, Talladega season-ticket-holders, then called them with the good news.
Multiple ticket opportunities still exist, however. So sharpen a pencil, prime your keyboard and peruse the list below. One big plus: Track season-ticket-holders already may be entered in their track’s particular contest or promotion:
* Bristol Motor Speedway will give four awards ceremony tickets to a selected fan who has attended every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol since the track’s 1961 opening (open to current ticket-holders).
* Daytona International Speedway is using two different promotions involving two sets of two tickets. Fans should visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com to register for both random drawings.
* Indianapolis Motor Speedway also is using two promotions involving two sets of two tickets. One is well on its way; interested fans were to visit IMS’s administrative lobby on Oct. 14 to register to win. For the second promotion, fans should visit the track’s web site, www.brickyard.com, to complete an online registration form. Note: You can’t win both promotions.
* Infineon Raceway is hosting a sealed bid auction for two awards ceremony tickets. The auction will benefit Speedway Children’s Charities. Visit www.infineonraceway.com for more information.
* Kansas Speedway will use four tickets as part of an enter-to-win contest. Each fan winner will receive two tickets, plus spending money, airfare and hotel. Visit www.racintoday.com for more information.
* Las Vegas Motor Speedway will use four tickets for its promotion. Visit www.lvms.com for more information.
* Lowe’s Motor Speedway will use four tickets as a Speedway Club Members auction item, with proceeds benefitting Speedway Children’s Charities. Visit www.lowesmotorspeedway.com for more information.
* Michigan International Speedway’s two tickets will be distributed via a drawing. Included is a trip to Las Vegas. Season-ticket-holders who renew are automatically entered in the drawing. Visit www.mispeedway.com for more information.
* New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s promotion was a part of its ongoing “FansFirst” initiative. Anyone who purchased tickets for the Sylvania 300 on Sept. 20 was eligible to win a trip to Las Vegas – airfare, lodging, $1,000 in spending money and two tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony.
* Phoenix International Raceway is using two fan tickets as part of a ticket-purchase promotion. Visit www.phoenixraceway.com for more information.
* Richmond International Raceway will reward one fan with two tickets, but if you want their seats, be prepared to do a little work. Fans must submit a video describing why they should be selected as Richmond’s Fan Reporter in Las Vegas, plus include their most memorable moment at the track. Visit www.rir.com for more information.
* Texas Motor Speedway is using two pairs of two tickets in separate promotions. One pair will be part of a live auction with proceeds benefitting the Texas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. Fans must register for a chance to win the other pair of tickets. Visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com for more information.
* Watkins Glen International is using a pair of tickets to reward a longtime fan of the track. Along with tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, the winner will receive a trip to Las Vegas, which includes airfare, lodging and rental car expenses. Visit www.theglen.com for more information.
Along with tracks, the following drivers and team are pitching in to help fans attend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony:* Kurt Busch will auction off two fan packages during his charity golf tournament on Dec. 1 in Las Vegas. Both packages include two tickets to the awards ceremony and a meet-and-greet with Kurt. Visit www.kurtbusch.com/foundation for more information.
Coors Light, Bank of America, The NASCAR Foundation, Ask.com and Ford all are sponsoring fan-ticket programs for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony. Visit those entities’ web sites for more information:
* Coors Light (Brookshire’s Food & Pharmacy) – Two tickets awarded as part of the company’s retail program around the Dickies 500 race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
* Ford “I’m Driving One” Online Sweepstakes – One grand-prize winner (and one guest) receives a 2010 Ford Taurus, plus an Ultimate NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week Experience, including an all-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas, two tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, and special recognition during the NASCAR After the Lap presented by Tissot program. Visit www.imdrivingone.com for more information.
* Bank of America (NASCAR RacePoints) – Two Champion’s Week VIP packages were made available for redemption that included tickets and access to the awards ceremony. Visit http://www.nascarracepoints.com for more information on the NASCAR RacePoints program.
* Ask.com NASCAR Trivia Challenge – Two tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony to the winner of the Ask.com NASCAR Trivia Challenge
* The NASCAR Foundation – Ten tickets will be auctioned as part of the Foundation’s Champion’s Week package fundraiser. The auction is from Nov. 9-23 and will be hosted on NASCAR.COM. Visit www.NASCAR.COM/foundation for more information.
LVMS to host fan, charity event during NASCAR Champion’s Week: Las Vegas Motor Speedway and NASCAR are bringing Champion’s Week to the race fans. Speedway and NASCAR officials have created the Chasers for Charity Fanfest to be held Dec. 2 in the Neon Garage and Blackjack Club at LVMS. The event will include a free-admission fan event throughout the afternoon as well as a charity roast of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. The fanfest will serve as the kickoff for NASCAR’s inaugural Champion’s Week in Las Vegas.
“One of the key elements to bringing NASCAR Champion’s Week to Las Vegas was creating an event for race fans,” said LVMS president Chris Powell. “This event will bring the drivers and the fans closer together and raise money for charity in the process. We’re very appreciative of NASCAR’s efforts to make this a special fan event that we hope becomes a tradition during Champion’s Week.”
The event will consist of a charity roast of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. The fanfest will feature appearances by the champion as well as drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The charity portion of the event will begin with a procession of the Chase drivers and the champion through the Neon Garage. A reception in the speedway media center will follow the procession, with credentialed fans having an opportunity to mingle with the drivers. The event will culminate with the roast in the Blackjack Club. Admission to the reception and roast is $250 per person and will be limited to the first 300 people due to space limitations. Proceeds from the event will benefit Speedway Children’s Charities.
The fanfest will allow fans free admission to the Neon Garage beginning at 11:00am on Wednesday, Dec. 2. Live entertainment and car displays will entertain race fans for the early part of the event. At approximately 2:00pm, the Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers and the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will arrive and walk a red carpet through the Neon Garage. The roast will be shown via closed-circuit television throughout the Neon Garage. Over the next few weeks, the speedway will be announcing more elements of this inaugural event. To purchase tickets to the roast, go to lvms.com or call 1-800-644-4444.(LVMS)(10-19-2009)
300 Awards Ceremony Tix allocated to teams for fans: For the first time in NASCAR history, fans will have the opportunity to join drivers, team owners and industry leaders to celebrate the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. This year’s awards ceremony is scheduled to be held at Wynn Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 4, 2009.
Approximately 300 tickets will be made available to the top 12 teams and drivers, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track operators and NASCAR partners to utilize for fan promotions. Fans will make up about 25% of the audience as they join drivers, team owners and industry officials for the awards ceremony. The available tickets will be used as part of sweepstakes, contests or promotions.
“Making tickets available provides the teams, tracks and partners a truly unique opportunity to reach out to the fans like never before,” said NASCAR CMO Steve Phelps. “We’re looking forward to seeing creative promotions for the limited number of tickets. We’ve worked very hard over the past four months to iron out details for the awards ceremony and the fan element was top priority.”
In coming weeks there will be additional announcements about the events planned for “Champion’s Week” in Las Vegas. Specifically, more details will be provided about the Top 12 Victory Lap Parade, entertainment and other fan event opportunities.(NASCAR)(9-15-2009)
NASCAR officially moves Cup banquet to Vegas; Nationwide and Truck Banquets combined: UPDATE: Fan tickets? TV coverage? NASCAR announced that Las Vegas formally becomes the “Official Host City of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week.” NASCAR’s annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony will be held at the Wynn Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 4, 2009. The move to Las Vegas provides for greater flexibility for driver and fan events. The NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events will be combined and held at the Loews Miami Beach on Monday, Nov. 23. The Grand-Am Rolex Series banquet will be held at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 12. NASCAR had held the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event in New York City every year since 1981. After exploring several options, NASCAR formed a partnership with Las Vegas Events, making the change of venue a reality. "I can’t say enough about the warm reception from Las Vegas,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “Las Vegas really made it a priority to get the awards ceremony moved there. We were able to come to an agreement on reasonable room blocks, banquet facilities, and approvals to hold fan activities on the famous Las Vegas Strip." Activities being planned for the days leading up to the Awards Ceremony include the return of the “Victory Lap,” a procession of the top 10 NSCS drivers in their race cars, the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Media Luncheon, the Pit Stop Tour and the NASCAR Street Tour to include stock cars and mobile marketing units placed throughout the city. The awards ceremony for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be consolidated in south Florida. This is designed to provide another great venue for the ceremony as well as help save NNS teams from making an additional trip following the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The top-five finishers from the NNS and NCWTS will be honored at the combined banquet celebration.(NASCAR PR)(4-23-2009)
UPDATE: NASCAR will move its Sprint Cup banquet from New York City to Las Vegas, and now it needs to decide what to do with the banquet at the Wynn Las Vegas, which was announced as the site for the 2009 awards ceremony on Thursday. Does it sell tickets to fans, as the National Hockey League is doing with its postseason awards ceremony in Las Vegas? Or does it keep it an invitation-only affair as it was during the banquet's 28 years in New York. "That decision hasn't been made yet," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Thursday. "That will be decided in the near future. But the Wynn hotel provides us a lot more flexibility than we had in the past. There are going to be some really good options to take a look at, including a fan element at the banquet. That hasn't been finalized yet." Poston declined to comment on whether NASCAR is getting paid to bring the banquet to Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported last month that the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority would pay NASCAR between $500,000 and $1 million for each year of the contract, which is believed to be for three years. Poston said NASCAR is talking with ABC/ESPN and Speed to determine who will televise that banquet. ESPN has the Nationwide contract, and Speed has the Truck contract.(Scene Daily)(4-24-2009)
Las Vegas lands NASCAR's Sprint Cup banquet: NASCAR and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority have reached an agreement in principle to bring the Sprint Cup banquet, awards ceremony and postseason celebration to Las Vegas in the first week of December. LVCVA president Rossi Ralenkotter confirmed the tentative agreement to move the annual event from downtown New York, where it has been held for the past 27 years, and make it a citywide event centered on the Strip. Some deal points still need to be finalized," Ralenkotter said Thursday. The sides have yet to settle the length of the contract; Ralenkotter wants a deal of three to five years. Also to be determined is the degree to which Las Vegas will be included in advertising and media references to the event. The LVCVA would pay NASCAR between $500,000 and $1 million for each year of the contract, Ralenkotter said. NASCAR has the option of selecting the venue for the banquet, likely to be Dec. 4. A spokesman for NASCAR, Ramsey Poston, said "nothing's been finalized" about this year's banquet plans. The event honors the top 10 drivers from the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Talks between NASCAR officials and Ralenkotter began two years ago, with Ralenkotter attending the 2007 banquet. Negotiations picked up in the past two months. NASCAR moved its banquet from Daytona Beach, Fla., to New York in 1981 in part to establish a Madison Avenue presence. The move was highly successful, helping to attract a number of Fortune 500 sponsors, including Home Depot, Dupont and Sprint Nextel, to the sport. But high-priced hotel rooms in Manhattan and often harsh winter weather created problems for racers, sponsors and media traveling to the five-day event. Last year the "Victory Lap" parade around midtown with the top-10 Cup cars and drivers was canceled because it caused traffic congestion. NASCAR would be the second major professional sport to shift its awards ceremony to Las Vegas this year. Ralenkotter negotiated a three-year deal to bring the NHL awards to the Palms on June 18.(Las Vegas Review-Journal)(4-3-2009)
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